The Swiss insurance group, Winterthur, a unit of the Credit Suisse group, has bought the largest Czech private pension fund, Vojensky Otevreny Penzijni Fond (VOPF), from the troubled Czech financial services company the Union Group.
The purchase of VOPF will cost Winterthur SFr114 million ($70 million).
Through the acquisition of VOPF, Winterthur will attain a market share in the Czech Republic of more than 25 per cent and will be number one in the rapidly expanding Czech pension fund market.
In 1995 Winterthur was one of the first foreign companies to enter the Czech market.
At the end of October 2000 Winterthur managed assets in the Czech Republic of SFr154 million for more than 215,000 customers.
Following the acquisition its customer base will increase to over 550,000 and the assets under management to nearly SFr450 million.
There has been a wave of consolidation in the Czech private pension sector over the past year, despite government moves to resist further privatisation of the pension system.
swissinfo with agencies